Now I Really Know What John Lennon Meant

After a year of waiting, having pretty much adjusted to the idea the call might never come, my dear nephew, in desperate need of a heart transplant, got the phone call. A heart awaited him. It was time to go to the hospital.

His transplant turned out to be one of four performed that day at Tufts Medical Center, and I’m thrilled to report what sure feels like a miracle—so far, so good. Suddenly, my nephew has the possibility of a longer life expectancy, along with a new set of challenges—a whole new regimen with new meds, new dietary restrictions, and even new rules about going out in public.

Meantime, my amazing sister, his mom, along with her partner, has been with him every step of the way on the road to getting a transplant—and now suddenly they’re his major support system as he negotiates a whole new chapter of his life, a chapter that suddenly promises to be longer. And a lot more hopeful.

Yesterday, I arrived in Boston to visit. At the time we planned my visit, I anticipated seeing my nephew at my sister’s home, attached to gadgets keeping him alive. Instead, I visited him tonight at the hospital where he’ll be until the end of the week. Recovery is going to be long and hard, but by God, my nephew is walking around with his new heart, and each day, he grows a bit stronger.

A little over a year ago, my sister brought her son back to Boston, so he wouldn’t have to die alone. Now it turns out that she brought him home so that he might live. What John Lennon said about life turns out to be really true: “Life is what happens while you’re making other plans.”

Now I really know what he meant.

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